Minister Cwele urged to quit
Johannesburg - Opposition parties on Friday called for the removal of State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele after his wife, Sheryl, was sentenced to 12 years in jail for drug dealing.
The Inkatha Freedom Party was one of the parties that called on the minister to resign immediately.
"We congratulate the NPA on a job well done. This ruling does not only send out a clear message that our criminal justice system is sound and independent, but the ruling speaks to South Africa's commitment to root out all forms of crime, especially organised crime," said IFP spokesperson on crime, Velaphi Ndlovu in a statement.
"Furthermore, we call on Minister Cwele to resign his post as minister of state security as his integrity has been severely tainted by his wife's conviction. This is yet another embarrassing blow to the credibility of the South African government."
Minister accused of incompetence
The African Christian Democratic Party urged President Jacob Zuma to fire Cwele who it charged had failed in his duty to protect the country from drug trafficking.
"It is incomprehensible that the State Security Minister can have an alleged drug trafficker in his house without him being aware of it. How can such a person be aware of drug trafficking in his community and the country if he cannot detect one in his own house?
"The ACDP believes State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele has failed the state by failing to uncover drug trafficking happening under his nose," said ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe in a statement.
He said the fact that there were children as young as ten-years-old who were hooked on drugs highlighted the "crisis" the country faced.
The minister had failed the country and particularly its children and should therefore be removed from office. Cwele and her co-accused, Frank Nabolisa, were sentenced to 12 years for drug trafficking by the KwaZulu-Natal High Court on Friday.
Delivering the sentence, Judge Piet Koen described their offence as very serious, saying that many lives were destroyed by drugs.
"Many families are affected by drugs which are brought here illegally. They suffer as a result of dealers who often initiate addiction by constant supply and thrive on that addiction."
The judge said he had considered the fact that the two were first offenders and that they had good prospects of being rehabilitated.
They have indicated that they would appeal the sentence.